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Large black and white dog sitting on a porch in south Georgia.

The Bark of A Dog

Kristy Dodson
Kristy Dodson


A while back, I sat in my upstairs window in what seemed like silence. Once I really tuned in, I heard many sounds in the distance. Some unusual and some familiar. Through the bark of a dog in a short moment of time, I am reminded of the uniqueness of all creation. I must choose how I see it.

The World Around Us

In our old neighborhood, it seemed that everyone had a dog. Once I was able to slow down a bit and take notice of the people and things around me, I began to “know” my neighbors by their dogs. Without much effort, I knew who walked in the mornings, who preferred mid-morning, and even when their evening walks were favored. Writing this makes me sound like I sit around watching the neighborhood, but that really is not it. This type of “knowing” just seems to happen subconsciously. With not much effort, the world around us becomes us. We see and hear things that we don’t even comprehend or take time to ponder. Somehow, we become aware.

A small dog riding in a car with her head out the window while driving past the ocean.

The Way We See

It was an early morning in December of 2021. I sat in my favorite window reading, praying, journaling, and just being quiet. In fact, I wrote parts of this very post on that day. I tucked it away letting it rest until the right time. Monday, June 27, 2022 is the right time. I’m stirred by an Ann Voskamp quote I’d jotted down in my journal last November. “We don’t have to change what we see…only the way we see.”  The short words are powerful, so I wrote quickly. I want to stay aware of the way I see.

A small tan dog sitting in her owner's lap outside.

The Bark of A Dog

As I sat that December morning, I began to take notice of the bark of a dog. The barks were coming from all around the neighborhood. It was the most noticeable sound of the morning. Often a barking dog in the early hours irritates me, but strangely, not on this day. I sat and listened to the different barks. Today was different. As I heard each bark, I began to identify the dog. In my mind, I thought “that is Ginger’s dog. He must see the deer in the tree line. That is the dog on the neighbor’s back porch. He was just let out for the day and can’t wait to get to the grass. And that is Jake. He only barks a few times as he never has much to say. He’s easygoing.”

Kristy and Sugar sitting together outside.

The Familiar Sounds

I knew which dog I heard simply by their bark. Even dogs have unique “voices”. I recognize them, I know their owners and I’m acquainted with where they live simply by their sound. The sounds of familiarity create a place of belonging regardless of how huge life appears.

Not What I see...

God’s creativity never bores me. It never grows old and never runs dry. On this day, it wasn’t so much about the dogs but about the tiniest details in life…not what I see but the way I see.

We don’t have to change what we see…only the way we see.

We are known

Like dogs, we each have a unique voice. I am not necessarily referring to the sound of a voice but to the individuality we all keep. This is no accident. Every part of me and every part of you is unique to ourselves. People know us by our sounds, our mannerisms, and our very presence in a room. Like the bark of a dog, we are known.

A small tan dog sleeping on a vintage floral cushion.

Joy in Each Other

I sat for a moment in awe. Captured by the thoughts that raced through my mind and then into my journal. Something as small and seemingly insignificant as the bark of a dog caused me to be still, give thanks and realize how large life truly is. I found myself in a tiny corner of the world taking in the gift God gave me that day. I unknowingly let go and realized the way we see just may be the way we find joy in the diversity of one another.

Five women caught laughing before the real picture was taken.

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